Adobe Creative Cloud

Alternatives to the Creative Cloud 1

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Marloes, Pembrokeshire
Marloes, Pembrokeshire. I shot this image in 2009. Had I not added keywords that I could search on in Lightroom, I would have struggled to find it again.

I recently read that Adobe is withdrawing the traditional full purchase option from Lightroom and Photoshop and that only the CC versions would be available. This means you would need to pay a monthly subscription rather than make a one-off payment for a version of the software. Checking the Adobe site just now I can see that only Lightroom and Elements are available as a “traditional” purchase option.

Whilst I subscribe to Creative Cloud and am very happy to do so, I know a lot of people don’t like the subscription model. Given this, it’s my intention to share some alternatives over the coming weeks that you might want to consider if you don’t want to go down the Adobe CC route.

To set some expectations though, I won’t be covering every alternative and I won’t be looking at lots of alternatives in a single blog post. Instead I will be posting from time to time as new ideas come to light. I also won’t be doing a comprehensive review of software, I will leave you to do that with the trial versions that most software companies offer.

In this first blog post I would like to consider just what Creative Cloud provides from the photographer’s perspective. You to determine how important each aspect is to you, as everyone will be different.

Asset Management

This is the ability to tag and sort images as well as perform searches using a variety of criteria. Typically, you would need to be able to search quickly on variables across potentially hundreds of thousands of images to identify the one(s) you want.

This is provided by Lightroom and to some degree Bridge.

RAW Conversion

If you shoot in RAW format, as many photographers do, you will need to convert or develop the RAW file into an image format. This will typically involve applying adjustments to the images as part of the conversion process.

This is provided by Lightroom or in Photoshop through Camera RAW.

Image Adjustment

The ability to enhance or adjust an image. Adjustments may be as simple as changes to colour or tone. In some circumstances, we may need to make more complex changes such as remove an object or change its size, shape or the perspective of the image.

Lightroom provides a level of adjustment capability but in some respects, this can be quite limited. Photoshop is much more flexible and powerful.

Print Output

Creating prints from your images and the ability to go through a Soft Proofing process is in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

Other aspects of CC that might be important to you are things such as are they supported for Mac and Windows. Do you need support for 16 bit editing or even 32 bit editing? Is there full colour management support so you can select a colour space within which to work? Do you need to work in CMYK, RGB or even LAB? How important is overall workflow to you? Some people hate switching between applications and need a level of integration.

If you’re thinking of a move from CC or even just buying more software, I would strongly recommend working on a few images and making notes of the aspects and features you use. You might not realise these are important to you until they are gone.

Next time I will look at one or two possible alternatives to CC.